Being a influence for good

At dinner time we have got into the habit of talking about our days. The girls always start out the conversation with something like this, "so how was your day?"  We then take turns talking about what we did or what happened to us. Shortly after Hailey's 5th birthday we sat at the table and asked her if she was excited to go to kindergarten next year. With her big puppy dog eyes she looked up from her meal and solemnly shook her head. " I never want to go to school without Mrs Janet." We all chuckled at the statement and continued our dinner conversation. Mrs. Janet by the way is Hailey's preschool teacher.

Today I found Hailey sitting by the fireplace with a clipboard on her lap and pencil in hand. "What are you doing I asked." "Just playing," she said, "I am pretending I am a teacher and mom I want you too know I am going to be a teacher when I grow up.  Just like Mrs Janet and I am going to teach little kids that are just like me." I told her that I thought that was a great idea and that she would make an amazing teacher. A few minutes later I got to thinking about the influence Mrs. Janet has on her students.  When I pick Hailey up from preschool it is such a unique experience. The parents sit patiently in the cars waiting for these little preschoolers who always get out a little late. As I sit there playing on my phone I am not annoyed that they are late, I am grateful. I know that they are late because they are getting hugged goodbye and their positive words of affirmation.  Statements like....."you are so special"and "you are so smart" and my personal favorite, "Mrs. Janet loves you so much!"

When the door opens a small group of 4 and 5 years old come walking out and like a mother goose Mrs. Janet leads them.  Before getting in their cars each little child will turn around and say "I love you Mrs. Janet!" Many will run back and give her leg another big hug or hold onto her leg until a parent pulls them off.  Many times, as we are about to drive away Hailey will tell me to stop because she forgot to say goodbye to Mrs. Janet, although I know she did because she was just squeezing her leg 30 seconds ago. I stop the car roll down the window and she hangs her little head out and yells, "goodbye Mrs. Janet, I love you Mrs. Janet!"  In response they will promptly get an I love you back.

As I think about the world and all the ways our children can be influenced in negative ways I am grateful for people like Mrs. Janet. She has created a safe haven for these children and has taught them not only many foundational secular lessons but also many life lesson. She makes them feel safe and loved. She reminds them constantly that Jesus loves them and they are unique and special.  She has a way of making them feel loved and worthy and it's not only the kids. I have been a receiver of a Mrs. Janet hug and I can see why they are so addicting. Every conversation I have with her she tells me something positive about myself and how much she loves me.  I walk back to the car with a smile on my face and feeling a little better about myself.

I think about Hailey going to kindergarten and it makes me a little sad to have to throw her in that unprotected world. She will leave the safe haven and enter a world where she will not be told she is loved, where hugs may be considered inappropriate as well as talking about Jesus.  But I am grateful because she will remember her preschool years and treasure those. Mrs. Janet has helped her with her self confidence and taught her how to love everyone. 

I am grateful for those people in our world that have the bigger picture. They we're given amazing gifts that they use to help others with.  I think about this amazing teacher and what our life would be like if she had decided to just retire or spend her days shopping or visiting the grandchildren.  We are all given gifts to influence the world for good. I find that my insecurities hold me back far to often but that was not how our lives were designed. I can't help but think about what this world would be like if there were many more Mrs. Janet's and less self absorbed citizens.  I agree with my little Hailey, I want to be like Mrs. Janet too. I want to touch the lives of those around me and be an influence for good! 


Henry's Lake Part 2

 We stayed the night at our friends cabin and went fishing after breakfast.  The kids were so excited to get their poles in the water. So after packing snacks and getting on all our warm clothing...because it is Idaho and who knows when the wind will pick up...we finally made it to the lake with all the crew!
 This little cutie was a great helper...although throwing rocks in the water was probably his favorite part.
 Although fishing is kind of a dad territory us mom's are right there to help untangled the lines, put a new worm on and warm up little freezing hands, oh and making sure the kids don't put their hands in their mouths after touching the worms or the fish or picking up the sand filled sucker and putting it back in their mouths.

 I love watching Dad's in action.  Seeing this made me think about the memories we are making with our kids.  This will be the day that our kids will remember when they think about the time their Dad taught them how to fish.  Or the time they caught their first fish.  These are some of the treasured memories.

 This little cutie loves to fish and I love to watch her.  She wants to do it all herself and is not afraid to put the worm on the hook.
 This is our friends little cutie and she is a fireball of freckles and energy.  I couldn't get enough of her fun personality and spunk!
 It is great to have friends that have kids that are the same age as yours.  Avery loves to hang with Zack and I love that there is no drama. At least not for a few more years that is....
 Hailey loves to fish as well but she especially likes to reel in the line.  When she does not have the pole in her hand she is searching the beach back and forth up and down for shells.  She can find the tiniest of shells in the sand and she wants to take them all home.  I am especially careful to empty her pant pockets before I wash them because she is constantly finding things that are her "special treasures."
 I loved watching these two play together.  This toddler stage is so funny, one minute they are playing well together and the other they are dumping sand in each others hair.
 After this weekend I can see why men get addicted to fishing.  I also have a new dream of having a small cabin in the woods.  We loved the seclusion and being surrounded by the forest and wildlife.  We sat in the cabin warmed  by the fire and just talked and enjoyed each others company.  I did not even pay attention to my phone and it felt great!
 Our only fish we caught that day....and the kids were so proud of it.  They all wanted to eat it for dinner that night.
What a great weekend.  I am itching to do it again and so are the girls.  We are so blessed to live in an area where a short drive can allow us to get away from the hustle and bustle of life.  We are lucky to be able to get away with our family and just enjoy one another and enjoy God's beautiful creations.


Henry's Lake Part 1

This last weekend we decided to get away from it all and packed up our poles and headed to the lake.  Matt woke the girls up at 4:30 and they bounced out of bed, with matted hair and heavy sleepy eyes.  It was like Christmas morning for they excitedly ran upstairs saying phrases like, "it's fishing time and lets go catch all the fishies."  It was still dark as we headed on our journey and the girls were a little confused why they had to go fishing at night while it was still dark.  As we got to the lake the sun had started coming up and I had forgot about the fishing and wanted to capture this transformation with my camera. (I am still trying to figure it out)
 There is something so beautiful about being up before the sun.  I admit I hardly ever do that but when I am out in nature it is so worth it. I love seeing the change that happens as the sun starts to rise.   The lake was cold and dark with frost and ice clinging to the rocks and trees and as the sun started to rise and spread its colors of warmth the lake started to change.  The dark black started to change to hues of orange, brown and golds.  The frost began to melt and drip from the flowers and I sat there in the middle of it, just watching it all happen.

 There was something so artistic about how this descended into the lake. I loved the tangle of wire and melting ice. There were a few times I was scolded by Matt to put the camera away and help our freezing children.

 Mini marshmallows...a staple in our fishing escapade.
 10 years ago Matt and I had our first day at this lake.  It was so fun being able to bring our girls back here and have them enjoy it.  They loved hearing the story of our date and giggled when I told them about Daddy holding my hand for the first time.

We can proudly report that everyone caught a fish...except for me:(
Matt introduced me to "beer can" fishing on our first date.  We wrap the line around the can with a rock on it and when the fish bites the can is knocked over.  I like this technique because it allows me to cuddle up in a warm blanket and watch my kidos.  My girls like a more hands on approach and would rather cast out and reel in.
The water was so clear and it felt so good to be out of the hustle and bustle and leave all the stress at home.  Now I know why men become so addicted to fishing!


Hey Blog....remember me?

 Well I have neglected our poor pitiful blog long enough!!! We have had such a busy summer that it is hard to remember everything we packed in.  So due to my lack of brain cells (I blame my children) I will post  our most recent adventures....because those are the only ones I can really remember.
 So my kids went back to school....unlike many of the moms that posted their kids pictures on Facebook along with a sweet message of how they cried or how they miss them already....I celebrate back to school is a national holiday in my house.  If I wasn't so lazy I would have posted a picture of me jumping in the air, fist pumping....or maybe sitting on their beds eating a ding dong!
 I mostly just posted these pictures as proof that I actually did their hair at least once this year. The rest of the year they look somewhat homeless.
 To end the summer my family went to Bear Lake.  Of course this was in Idaho it was pretty cold. Most of my family was competing in a triathlon there.  I was going to be on a relay with my sisters but then a week before we leave I got supper sick and could not compete....bummer!!!! But when I realized how cold the water was I felt grateful for my nasty infection.....luckily the girls found someone who wasn't such a pansy to replace me.  In the meantime I got to spend the weekend snuggling my boy nephew Owen....who seriously has me wrapped around his little fingers!
 I also got to spend time with these girls.  They flew in from Cali just to hang with the family and cheer them on. I am so proud of my sisters and what amazing mom's they are. They are new to this mom thing but totally rocking it and inspiring me to be a better mom.  This can be said for my brother Jared...he is an amazing dad!!!!  I never thought the guy that dangled spit in my face would turn out to be such an amazing father and husband.  And I am sure one day Kurtie will also be a awesome dad because he is already a fun and loving uncle and an awesome husband.  If you can't tell I love my siblings and am so proud of them.  We also missed Jenni's hubby not being there.  Since he has joined the family our coolness went up 10 points! But we were so glad he was willing to let his girls come. Lucy is a doll and although she may look like her daddy I think she is going to be a little mini Jenni. She is such a little sweet heart! I never thought I would love my nieces and nephew as much as I do....but they are so much better then having your own kids because you get to love on them and then give them stress !
 My dad, Kurt and my bro in law did the whole race.  I was so proud of took a lot of guts!  Especially after the swimming part rocked their world and made Kurtie blow chunks!  I think next time they do one of these they will practice the swim part a little more! My Dad and his buddy Steve got first an second place in their age division and got to stand on the podium.
 My cute sis in law did the biking part of the relay and was  the only one in our family that could really pull off the padded spandex shorts look.  Her awesome family came and stayed with us and now I am not sure I want to have a family reunion without them.  I am hoping they just adopt our family into theirs and invite us on all their fun they have all the fun toys!
 Mitch rocked the swimming part of the relay....and I am sure he is not passing this kid on purpose....he is a nice guy like that.
 My sister did the running part of the relay....and she is really not that white....this is just a crappy picture....I just love it because it is so her....that's just how she goes through life, with this easy going attitude.  She is such a great mom!
 Avery loved the beach and even though the water was freezing it did not stop her from jumping right in.  It was so nice to have Taylor's niece and nephews  there to keep my girls company.  Without Jared and his family attending, my girls have no one to really play with.  We missed Jared and his family a lot and it would have been so awesome to have us all day I hope.
 Hailey has found a new hobby.  She collects seashells and they become her special treasures.  She stayed out of the water and instead combed the beach for miniature shells.  She still has anxiety from a previous swimming mishap that happened earlier this summer and we hope that her fear of open water is just a phase.
 Mattie enjoyed the freedom.  She chased the older kids, swam in the pool and ate an insane amount of sugar.  She also enjoyed not having to get dressed and not having her hair brushed.  At the end of the week all my girls were starting to look pretty homeless. Their hair was starting to form dreads and I could not get a brush through Haileys because of the food chunks that were dried in it...oh well it was a vacation...dont judge me)
My mom was such a trouper on this vacation.  Not only did she recently have an emergency eye surgery but shortly after she was hospitalized due to a severe  colon complication.  This has left her pretty weak and she is still recovering but she was so positive.  She is such a strong gal and constantly puts the needs of others before her own.  She chased around the course cheering my dad on and wanted to do her best to support him.

We had a great time with the family and who knows maybe next year I will be brave enough to try out this race....assuming I get off my butt and get in shape!